The updated symbolic calculation functionality in Mathcad Prime 2.0, as written about in our last post, is an important new feature for users who conduct engineering and design calculations. In that post we explored explicit evaluation, integration between symbolic and numeric calculations, and the Leibniz and Lagrange notation for derivatives.
In this post, let’s focus on how these features can impact you on a personal level.
Think of all the time you spend manipulating formulas before they can be used in a specific problem. Each of the features listed above helps you to save time and/ or prevent error in your calculations.
For example, explicit evaluation lets you control precisely what variables you see evaluated, helping you to eliminate excessive data and any potential for misinterpretation and error.
Think about how much easier your job could be with Mathcad Prime 2.0 allowing you to set up the right form of a formula before plugging in the numbers and then having routine updates to downstream computations, managed automatically. This update of mixed symbolic and numeric calculations can help you to keep documents up to date while you input parameters and change formulae. Symbolic calculation even lets you put derivation steps that are often done on paper right in the document, making documents easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to verify.
No matter what you are doing—transferring knowledge, setting up standard calculations, or verifying and validating a design—documents with explicit derivation and calculations make the process easier, more effective, and less error prone.
Labels in symbolic computation, another new feature not mentioned in the last post, can also be extremely beneficial. Kent Pitman, who discussed symbolic calculations, explained, “labels allow you to tag a name as a unit name or variable name and can help to eliminate confusion if the name is ambiguous”. Because you can easily differentiate between two units or variables that may have the same letter, using the labeling, you can understand what is going on within an equation easily and more quickly.
Mathcad Prime 2.0 receives “VERY HIGH marks for letting me type in Symbolic Parameters instead of making me select tokens from a list. I can still do the tokens, if I wish, but very often it’s quite convenient just to type them in.”
– Nathan Hunsaker
Mathcad Prime 2.0 beta tester
As discussed in detail in the previous blog entry, Lagrange notation has joined Leibniz notation as a way to refer to derivatives of functions, eliminating the task of having to sometimes write a program to implement that effect. Previously, you could only use the Lagrange notation for derivatives in certain kinds of solve blocks, but now you can also use it in any expression. This makes your calculations more flexible, shows your work better, and saves you time from having to write separate programs. On top of simplifying your calculations, it also makes the display look nicer, giving you a cleaner and better organized worksheet.
Pitman concludes, “Mathcad’s traditional symbolic computation capability now shares in the improved look and feel of Mathcad Prime.” For example, you can benefit from the tools and functionality of symbolic calculations that you may have experienced in past versions of Mathcad, along with a clear picture of what your symbolic calculations possibilities can be, with the task ribbon tools right in front of you. Using these new tools, you can document not just what you want to compute, but the math behind why you want to compute it.
Have you enjoyed learning about symbolic calculation in Mathcad Prime 2.0? Keep on the lookout for a new blog post about Mathcad Prime 2.0’s new and improved performance!